With the AA/US merger announcement expected later this week, everyone is looking for ways to maximize their mileage balance with the combined carrier. Applying for the Barclays US Airways credit card is certainly one way to do this. The expectation is that this card will eventually go away (most likely at least a year away from now), leaving behind the harder to churn AA Citi Cards. While Barclays is one of the tougher banks in terms of approval for your first card, they seem to have a reputation lately as being easily churnable. Using my family as guinea pigs (yes, they love this), here are our churn results. The good – you can definitely get another card and bonus. The bad – timing plays a role but the waiting periods vary based on individual and are uncertain.
First off, the best currently available offer (update 2/14, this link is no longer working, see bottom of this post for the best available links for personal and business cards) is for 40,000 bonus miles after your first use, 10,000 additional miles on your one year anniversary, and no annual fee. If you only intend to use the card for your first use, you may be in for an additional bonus of 15,000 miles. Lately, Barclays has been offering an additional 15K bonus for spending $750 every month for 3 months after a period of inactivity once you make your first purchase (usually 2 months or so). Update 2/27 - My 15k offer was received today. Check out this post for details.
Adam – I first applied for the card in December 2011. I decided to wait the full year and obtain my retention bonus of 10k miles, my annual US Airways club pass, and the $99 annual companion ticket prior to canceling my card. Once the annual fee posted, I called Barclays and canceled my card but kept all the annual goodies. I re-applied two weeks later in December 2012 and was instantly approved. The bonus miles have already posted and I’m currently waiting and hoping for the 15k offer. My strategy is now to hold the card for six months (June 2013) and then re-apply without canceling the current card. If that doesn’t work I’ll cancel the card, wait another month or so, and the re-apply again. Update 4/17 - I applied again for another personal card and was REJECTED!!! I tried my best several times on the reconsideration line but they refused another card as I “currently already have the product”. No credit report was even pulled and I was told to apply for the business card. I’ll wait to finish out my 15k promo bonus and then cancel and apply again.
Dad – First applied March 2012 and instantly approved. Re-applied June 2012 with the other card still active and approved again with an even higher credit limit. Canceled the first card in September 2012 and re-applied for another card in October 2012. REJECTED. Barclays reconsideration noted that he was already an existing cardholder. Waited three additional months and re-applied in January 2013, instant approval!
Mom – First applied in July 2012 and instantly approved. Re-applied in January 2013 with the original card still opened, instantly approved.
Sis – First applied in December 2011 and instantly approved. Re-applied in August 2012 and rejected. This was interesting as it was past the six month mark which seemed to be the requirement for our other cards. At this point she waited for the annual bonus to post in December 2012 and then canceled the card. Re-applied in February 2013 and instantly approved.
So, a few lessons to take away -
- Your Miles May Vary (YMMV)!
- You can definitely have more than one card at a time and churning is possible. While some may be successful applying with another card open, others may be questioned as to why they need two of the same card. In any case, it’s worth a shot and you can always cancel your first card.
- It seems safest to wait at least six months between applications, though this doesn’t seem to be a guarantee if you already have another US Airways card opened. Note that others report being approved much sooner on Flyertalk.
- If canceling the card, there is no required waiting period before your next successful application and in fact one month seems to have done the trick with all of our experiments.
Update 2/14, as noted above, the best available offer completely stopped working this morning, perhaps a coincidence but maybe not. Anyway, you can still get the personal cards via these links:
1) 30k after your first purchase, annual fee of $89, up to an additional 10k when you transfer a balance within 90 days (1 mile per $). Full landing page and promo details.
2) 40k after your first purchase - 40k after your first purchase, annual fee waived for the first year, 10k for card renewal. NO landing page or promo details (thanks AllenL). UPDATE 2/27/13 – Several readers are reporting that the link is no longer working
3) 35k after your first purchase, annual fee waived for the first year, 10k for card renewal. Also, NO landing page or promo details (thanks Chester F).
4) Business Card – 25k after your first purchase, up to 10k for balance transfer within the first 30 days (1 mile per $), $79 annual fee. Note this link will also give you the option to select a business card with no annual fee and 5k miles for signing up.